Jack Be Nimble Image

Jack Be Nimble

By Bobby LePire | February 23, 2022

Writer-director Steve Wollett’s Jack Be Nimble is set in an assisted care facility. Jack (Vernon Wells), Storm (Elizabeth Gribbon McCullough), Karl (Brent Moorer Gaskins), Otto (Steve Silver), and Nick (Frank O’Brien) meet in the activities room every week to play Mystic Steel, a tabletop RPG. On this particular day, Jack is convinced he saw Nurse Edmond (Bai Ling) sucking someone’s soul out of them just before joining the group. But, none of his friends believe him, as the drunk has a history of unproven false claims.

But, Nurse Edmond is acting out of sorts, to the point where the facility administer, Dr. Monroe (Katherine Mesa), has to yell at her. Even then, the friends shrug it off as the nurse having an off day. But, when Sister Mary (Juanita Salazar) — a nun and Jack’s sibling — shows up for a visit, the gamers get a rude awakening. Can they stop the evil Nurse Edmond before she takes their souls, damning them all?

While there is a lot to like in Jack Be Nimble, one massive flaw should be discussed first: the audio through the entire runtime is dreadful. It is readily apparent that ADR or some form of re-recording had to take place, as the lip-synch to the sound is terrible. Wells often sounds like he was recorded in a large, slightly echoey chamber. The disconnect between the audio and visuals throws viewers for a loop.

With that being said, the supernatural/religious comedy still works overall. This is primarily due to the cast. Wells is terrific as the curmudgeon no one believes. His comedic timing is on point and makes the cartoonish role a bit more realistic. Bai Ling is tons of fun as the manic, frustrated nurse/demon, and the story gives her a bit of a sympathetic backstory. Ling plays it with the right amount of nuance to sell both the villainy and heartache present.

“…stop the evil Nurse Edmond before she takes their souls…”

McCullough is charming as Storm. In one scene, as she’s explaining to Dr. Monroe that it was her, not Nurse Edmond smoking, the deadpan monotone used works wonderfully. Juanita Salazar elevates the whole affair with her absolutely brilliant turn as Sister Mary. She’s both serious and very goofy and shines in every scene of hers.

While the special effects throughout Jack Be Nimble are obviously CGI, Wollett creatively uses them. The flash of energy when Nurse Edmond charges up (for lack of a better term) to take the soul is a nice visual. The skull and fire that pierces Jack’s mind aren’t realistic, but they do convey the menace and strength of his opponent.

Some two-thirds or so through the film, Jack’s backstory is disclosed. And it is great. It explains a lot about him and his current actions as an old geezer, as well as why he’d want to drink himself into oblivion. It works shockingly well and gives the film the heartfelt emotion that wasn’t quite there previously.

Will the audio issues turn off potential audience members? Unfortunately, but understandably, yes. However, anyone who can look past that will be highly amused throughout Jack Be Nimble. The cast is giving it their absolute all, the protagonist and antagonist have excellent backstories, and the visuals are done in a fun, creative way.

Jack Be Nimble (2022)

Directed and Written: Steve Wollett

Starring: Vernon Wells, Bai Ling, Elizabeth Gribbon McCullough, Brent Moorer Gaskins, Steve Silver, Frank O'Brien, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Jack Be Nimble Image

"…fun, creative..."

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  1. Steve Wollett says:

    The audio problem has been addressed. The screener had a compression flaw that I was unaware of. We fixed it and the audio drift is no more. Everything is now in sync. Sorry you guys had to see the error copy.

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